For a long time, volunteering seemed like a challenge to me. There were so many organizations, opportunities, events, etc. and I had my own stuff to deal with… How was I ever going to find time to get out and volunteer? I’d make time to do something here or there, like pack boxes for a food bank for a couple of hours, but it wasn’t until I found an organization that really spoke to me that I finally decided to jump in and commit myself to doing volunteer work. I have found a tremendous amount of happiness and pride doing volunteer work and though I stay home with my twin 2 ½-year-old boys — and am just as busy as ever, I have found organizations that work with my schedule and allow me to get out and help our community in significant way. One day when my boys are a little older, I hope to get them started on volunteer work as well, so they too can understand how crucial their time is for those in need.
Here are a few ideas for busy moms and/or families:
This beautiful organization is dedicated to helping grieving children and their caregivers by giving them the space they need to talk through, explore, and better understand the feelings around losing a special person. An individual can be a volunteer companion during group sessions (an opportunity I had the honor to participate in and a place where I realized that children are strong and capable of understanding much more than we give them credit for). They also feed the families at the beginning of every evening session and are always on the lookout for groups or families to provide a healthy meal. Check out this and other ways you can volunteer here.
Some of the most “in-need” members of our community are seniors, especially those who may increasingly have difficulty with getting around and are becoming more and more home-bound. Senior hub is looking for volunteers for a host of services. Consider taking Meals-on-Wheels once a week or a friendly home visit. Have a kiddo that loves animals? How about some pet care for a senior in need. Contact Senior Hub here for more information on individual and family friendly volunteering opportunities.
Hope House of Colorado
Here is an organization that helps other moms – teen moms. Most teen moms have a very unstable home life and Hope House was established to help these moms to begin raising their families in a more stable and supportive environment. They work with the young mothers to ensure they finish their education, as well as gaining other life skills that allow them to be successful on their own. They have a lot of volunteer needs, but how about spending an evening tutoring a young mother working on her GED or teaching a life skills class. Family volunteering could include making and delivering a meal or helping with yard work. All volunteer needs can be found here.
Sacred Heart House
Sacred Heart House provides a stable home life for homeless mothers with young children and single women, as well as a place to learn life skills to help them get back on their feet. They need volunteers for a number of administrative tasks, as well as child care providers while mothers are in life skills classes. Family volunteering is encouraged. See more here.
As women and mothers, we are often drawn to caring for others and Making Choices is a great organization that allows us to care for and mentor an often forgotten segment of our society: women prisoners. By going into the Women’s prison and mentoring a woman through the making choices program, the woman prisoner is given a very important life-skill: the ability to identify life goals and make appropriate decisions on how to reach those goals. This may sound small, but I have personally seen the transformation and feeling of empowerment that these women gain when completing this program. Take a look at their website for more information on how to become a mentor or teacher.
Keep America Beautiful
A great way to get outside and make a big impact in your community and for our environment is through Keep America Beautiful. This organization hosts beautification and cleanup projects in local neighborhoods all over the United States. This organization is easy to get involved with and doesn’t require a huge commitment of time. Bring your kids! Take a look at their websites for upcoming cleanups in your area.
Quick and simple ideas:
- Many organizations (including some of the organizations mentioned above) have runs and/or “fun runs” for individuals and families. These allow you to support an organization financially, without volunteering directly.
- Kids understand kids and they love picking out toys, even if they’re for someone else. Think about participating in toy drives or adopting a family in need during the holidays.
- Kids also understand animals. Animal shelters are always looking for volunteers to help give walks or do some clean-up.
- Giving items from home is a great way to discuss issues around those less fortunate. As we approach “spring cleaning” time, talk to your kiddos about possibly donating some of their unused or outgrown clothes and toys to an organization that provides support for other kids in need.
- Raise money through a lemonade stand or bake sale. At the end of the sale, talk to the kids about what type of organization they would like to support and you can either give that organization the money or you can contact the organization, find out what they need, and purchase those items on their behalf.
- Play in the dirt! Start a garden with your children and give the extra fresh fruits and vegetables to a local food bank (everyone is always trying to find a way to get rid of those extra zucchinis!).
This is awesome Sara! I have been volunteering at a food pantry/homeless ministry forever, and since my girl is a little older, now I take her with me. She LOVES it, and I love taking her. She can’t do what I do exactly – but I was able to find her a “job” that fits her skills and talents and the folks there love talking to her. I think it has been such a learning experience for her and has given us an opportunity to talk through some really hard and valuable things.